136: Nicolette

I have to admit that I have something of a crush on Nicolette. The cover to her album, Life Loves Us, doesn't do her justice. At all. Try this or this. But cute as she may be in those pictures, what draws me to her in that voice. The style is influenced in equal parts by her musical and cultural upbringing. Her parents were Nigerians living in Scotland, her father was obsessed with music, which clearly rubbed off on her. I had heard about her because of her collaborations with Massive Attack and Plaid. Then I came across her release on K7's DJ-Kicks series. To this day, it's still my favorite mix CD. The diversity of the music is brilliant spanning everything from Atari Teenage Riot's Alec Empire to Roni Size to Aphex Twin. Every track is brilliant (even if her choice of Aphex Twin's Ventolin can be a little bit grating to listen to). Since then, I've followed her career. Her first solo album, Now is Early, created with the assistance of production duo Shut Up and Dance, is something of a forgotten classic. I hate to call the music on that album a sort of deep bass house because it would belittle it. Production wise it almost sounded that way, but with a worldly sound, eccentric rhythms, unique instrumentation, and the soulful voice of Nicolette (something she considers nothing special). The following album, Let No One Live Rent Free Inside Your Head, was more experimental. Plaid, from Warp Records, played a major production role, as did Alec Empire. The result was an eclectic, something dark, but oddly playful record.

Then sadly, since 1996, we didn't hear much from Nicolette (other than her appearance on Plaid's Not for Threes). I doubted that she'd ever release another album. But now, on her newly formed Early Records, she's returned with Life Loves Us. I have to admit that it's a more challenging record. It takes a few listens to really appreciate it. The second track, Sunshine, particularly reminds me of the strange ambient textures of The Irresistable Force (another brilliant musician who seems to have disappeared from the scene). Down Day starts with an unusual downtempo beat before breaking down into a flange soaked synth line. The single, Wholesome, as well as I'm Where the Party's At and High Wave are a bit more upbeat and at points even more accessible. Unfortunately, if not for my loyalty to Nicolette, I might have been tempted to cast this aside with giving it a proper time to develop.

There's more samples (and pay per downloads) here. There are also explanations behind the creation of each track. If you'd care to give it a chance, I don't think it will disappoint.


Anonymous X-101 said...

Always loved Nicolette's since the shut up n dance days, nice to see shes still about

7:44 AM, October 25, 2005  

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